"TO DESTROY THIS INVISIBLE GOVERNMENT,
TO DISSOLVE THE UNHOLY ALLIANCE
BETWEEN CORRUPT BUSINESS AND CORRUPT POLITICS
IS THE FIRST TASK OF THE STATESMANSHIP OF THE DAY."
-- Theodore Roosevelt--
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
A Tale of Bad Pumpkins, Retold
Once upon a time, there was a pumpkin patch.
The pumpkins were foolish, and allowed a very bad ruler to come to power:
He kept company with some other nasty pumpkins:
Together, they did some very bad things:
The other pumkins weren't too worried, though, because they were satisifed being consumers:
One day, however, the pumpkins learned that one of the Pumpkin Ruler's friends was not very nice to the little pumpkins:
This made the other pumpkins feel bad:
Then, they learned that it was not an isolated event:
The Pumpkin Ruler started to give the other pumpkins a very bad feeling inside. They finally realized that they needed to purge themselves of the Pumpkin Ruler:
So they rid themselves of the Rotten Pumpkin, and there was Peace in the pumpkin patch.
(Also posted at Ice Station Tango.)
TAGS: Halloween, Pumpkins, Bush, Government Corruption, Tale of Bad Pumpkins, Humor
Strategery and Trickeration
Well, look out leftists, the GOP is out to employ some subtle trickeration and strategery all over your asses in an effort to overcome the disadvantage of being the political party that allowed the worst President in history to completely fuck up America for eight years.
They're going to pretend the whole thing never happened. They're planning to run against Hillary Clinton as if she's the incumbent and--this is classic--they are the party of change.
Crooks and Liars has the scoop on that one.
I can only offer an metaphorical representation of this wicked media-aided GOP strategery in the form of some serious trickeration from Trinity University's football team.
TAGS: Trickeration, Strategery, Will Ferrell, Election 2008
Monday, October 29, 2007
Blackwater Given Immunity
It's not enough that Blackwater can slaughter Iraqis at will, now there's this little tidbit someone forgot to mention.
The State Department promised Blackwater USA bodyguards immunity from prosecution in its investigation of last month's deadly shooting of 17 Iraqi civilians, The Associated Press has learned.
Three senior law enforcement officials said all the Blackwater bodyguards involved — both in the vehicle convoy and in at least two helicopters above — were given the legal protection as investigators from the Bureau of Diplomatic Security sought to find out what happened. The bureau is an arm of the State Department.
No, I have some news for you here, fellas.....
The law enforcement and State Department officials agreed to speak only if they could remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the inquiry into the incident.
Oh, no - it's not for reason of "the sensitivity of the inquiry" that you want to remain anonymous, it's because someone - and maybe more than one someones - will want to kick your ass.
In a recent interview with Lara Logan, Erik Prince said they (Blackwater) are Americans working for America. No they're not. These are traitorous, red-necked, murderous thugs. They are mercenaries as intent on destroying America as is the Bush administration.
TAGS: Blackwater, Murdering Iraqi civilians, What the .....???,
Retroactive Telcom Immunity? What Glenn Says
Sign it! And you can do that here.
TAGS: FISA, Telcom, Activism Glenn Greenwald
Sunday, October 28, 2007
LONDON (AP) Oct. 28 - A British newspaper reported Sunday that it found children as young as 10 making clothes in a sweatshop in New Delhi, India, that the Gap Inc. fashion chain planned to sell in the West. The Observer quoted the children as saying they had been sold to the sweatshop by their families in Indian states such as Bihar and West Bengal and would not be allowed to leave until they had repaid that fee. Some, working as long as 16 hours a day to hand-sew clothing, said they were not being paid at the unidentified Gap supplier because their employer said they were still trainees. The clothing retailer said the sweatshop was being run by a subcontractor hired in violation of Gap's policies, and none of the product made there will be sold in its stores. [Funny how there's always a "sub-contractor" to blame when this happens, isn't it?] "We appreciate that the media identified this subcontractor, and we acted swiftly in this situation," Gap spokesman Bill Chandler told The Associated Press on Sunday. "Under no circumstances is it acceptable for children to produce or work on garments." The Observer quoted one boy identified only as Jivaj as saying that child employees who cried or did not work hard enough were hit with a rubber pipe or had oily cloths stuffed into their mouths. The paper said the sweatshop, or "derelict industrial unit," that it found during its investigation in New Delhi was "smeared in filth, the corridors flowing with excrement from a flooded toilet." [Snarky commentary mine.]The rest is here. It's pretty bad, but not anything you haven't heard before if you're familiar with the issues of child labor and sweat shops. Pardon me for being cheesed about this. Please excuse my naivete. I know Corporate America is up to its collective whazoo in dirty little secrets, but, my goodness, this one is a real keeper, isn't it? Those giant posters might as well say, "We'll fight HIV/AIDS in Africa, but we'll do it by enslaving and exploiting other people's kids someplace else. Just don't tell anyone about it." And when you view the ads on the Gap's web site, you'll see celebs posing with their children, including one of the Dixie Chicks. Wonder how my beloved Natalie Maynes would feel if someone stuffed an oily rag in her child's mouth... There. Now YOU know. Just in time for the holiday shopping season. Feel free to keep this in mind when you're making a list and checking it twice. And here's a list of links you can use to help you make more infomed choices when it comes to buying guilt-free, sweat shop-wise: - AFL-CIO: Stop Sweatshops - Multinational Monitor - Boycott Action: Co-op America - Global Exchange - Behind the Label - UNITE!
Yesterday was a hell of a day. Attendance was great! There was at least 500 people around the Capitol. And per our standing agreement, I went by myself, armed with the video cam and my cell phone; Mr. B stays at home with bail money ready, you know, just in case.
I was really struck by the depth of feeling. People really do care, and it was uplifting. Gave me a sense of renewed purpose.
TAGS: Iraq, Peace, Protest, Activism
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
"Burn 'em to ashes, then burn the ashes."
"Do you ever read any of the books you burn?" He laughed. "That's against the law!" "Oh. Of course." - from Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.As the late Frank Zappa once said, "It's not getting a whole lot smarter out here..."
TUSCOLA, Texas (AP) Oct. 23 - A popular English teacher has been placed on paid leave — and faces possible criminal charges — after a student's parents complained to police that a ninth-grade class reading list contained a book about a murderer who has sex with his victims' bodies.The entire article is here.
Kaleb Tierce, 25, is being investigated for allegedly distributing harmful material to a minor after the student selected Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Cormac McCarthy's Child of God off the list and read it.
Tierce, a third-year teacher and assistant football coach at Jim Ned High School, has not been arrested, but his case has caused an uproar in this West Texas town of 700 people. Last week, more than 120 parents and students crowded into a meeting where the school board voted to keep Tierce on paid leave.
Most parents say Tierce should be reinstated, regardless of whether the book is too graphic for teens.
"He's a great teacher and coach and motivates the kids like no one else can," said Chris Garcia, whose daughter was in one of Tierce's classes. "If you're trying to protect your kids from things in books, you may as well turn off the TV and video games. You try to protect them as much as you can, but these days kids are just exposed to so much."
Tierce, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing, declined to comment when asked by The Associated Press about the allegations.
Some students and athletes have worn armbands to school and football games emblazoned with Tierce's initials, hiding them under clothing. Others said teens were meeting secretly to decide how to help the teacher they believe did nothing wrong.
"He was the only one who understood us," said Patrisha Ramirez, 15. "He would joke around. He would make English interesting, for once."
In Tuscola, south of Abilene, Child of God was on a list of titles compiled by all of the high school English teachers for a pre-Advanced Placement class.
Although administrators' approval was not required for the list, school officials have since removed the book because they deemed it inappropriate for ninth-graders.
The book tells the story of a town's outsider who is falsely accused of rape, then begins killing people. The character ends up living in a cave with his victims' decomposing bodies. The 1974 novel "plumbs the depths of human degradation," according to its back cover.
The parents of one ninth-grade student filed a police report on Oct. 1 with the Taylor County Sheriff's Office earlier this month. Before contacting law enforcement officials, they complained to the teacher and principal, said district Superintendent Kent LeFevre, who declined to reveal their discussions...
Parents have sought to ban various books, including John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men and J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" series, as well as books on Cuba or gay penguins, according to the American Library Association. Last year, schools or public libraries received nearly 550 requests to remove books, the Chicago-based association said.
Now, this is an especially timely story for me. For one thing, my eighth grade students are currently reading Of Mice and Men, which is one of my favorite books to teach, and one which, when I survey my kids at the end of every year, turns out to be one of the most popular books on our reading list. We're right smack dab in the middle of it right now. It's a "classic" that kids can tackle, that doesn't talk down to them, that they find challenging but still a "good read." When we're done reading it, we watch the movie. It makes us all cry. It's a wonderful experience.
But the recent experiences we've had in our school district make us teachers worry now. We've started to look over our shoulders a bit. We talk in low tones about whether we should teach this or that, whether "they" will "come after us." It's distressing for agitators like me. In the town next door, a parent wants a book pulled and banned from the school library. The book, The Burn Journals, is a memoir of a young man - an eighth grader - who tried to commit suicide by setting himself on fire. It's a pretty rough book, I must admit, and it should only be read by mature youg readers. It is powerful stuff, but I will say that some of the sexual references are a bit gratuitous. There's not much of that, though. Most of it is gripping. This book had to be signed out with the parents' permission, however. The kid brought it home, the parents looked it over and didn't like what they saw, BUT, instead of simply refusing to allow their child to not read the book - you know, acting like parents - they decided to throw a public tantrum and get the title banned from the school shelves, so that no one can read it. Nuh-uh. In America, we're supposed to be against censorship. Supposedly.
Look, it's a scary world out there for kids, and for parents. It's especially scary for adolescents. I get that. I teach 'em, and I have two in my house at the moment. But in my house, I am the censor. And I am proud of it. I decide what movies come into the house and what gets played on the DVD player I paid for. I get veto power over what titles get downloaded from iTunes (it's my credit card that pays the bill, after all), and I get to delete what slips by the first time, because I actually torture my senses and listen to my kids' "music." I check out what my kids are reading, for school and for pleasure. Sometimes, Mrs. Agitator and I even - get this - read along. We've been doing this since our kids started reading. This - again - is called parenting.
The parents in our neighboring community acted correctly, up to a point. They investigated what their precious darling was reading, they didn't approve of it, and they denied the child the privilege of reading the book. That is their perogative. BUT they do not have the right to have the book pulled off the shelves of the library, to deny the other students in that school the right to have their parents make that same decision, or to decide otherwise. In other words, the right for them to parent their kids. The adults in the first case, however, are just plain wrong, and that includes the administrators here. They never should have suspended this teacher for a single second. I hope he has a lawyer, and I hope he has a strong teachers' union to protect him.
Yes, it is a truly scary world for children. I sympathize with all those parents who struggle every day to do battle with all the stuff out there that they and their kids are faced with. That's what teachers and school librarians and administrators are supposed to do. We love doing it. But when we are bullied, we need to fight back. That's what we tell the kids who are victimized by bullies to do: stand up, look them in the eye, and tell them "NO!"
It's time to start practicing what we preach.
(Strictly gratuitous Julie Christie photo from the movie version of Fahrenheit 451. You'll pardon me for this, I hope, as I have been madly in love with her since my own adolescence...)"You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture.
Just get people to stop reading them."
-- Ray Bradbury --
PS: I have closed up shop for good at my own blog. I hope to continue to post here, when the spirit - and my outrage - moves me.
You Busy Tomorrow?
Tomorrow, October 27th is shaping up to be a great day. In 11 major cities (here's the list) and many cities hosting solidarity actions, thousands are expected to show up and meld their voices to one purpose.
Stop The War.
I sense a groundswell, a huge desire of many folks to stop the current madness and return to the principles that were once thought unshakeable. Namely the rule of law, the primacy of the Constitution and Habeus Corpus.
All it takes is for people to a) show up and b) SPEAK OUT!
Speaking of which, Chris Dodd made an excellent speech this morning. There's at least one Constitutionalist in the Senate. How about that?
I'm taking the trusty video cam to Lincoln Park tomorrow to capture the peace event in Denver. What are you doing?
TAGS: Peace, Justice, Direct Action
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Water, Part I: Shrinking Supply
Now my concern...
The Drinkable Water Supply is Shrinking
Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, a Hungarian Nobel Prize winner has said:
"Water is life's matter and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water."Well, if that is the case, then "Life" is in trouble. Go ahead and make that a capital "T", because we are running out right quick. Four big reasons:
- Rising global temperatures
- Population growth
- Poor resource management
But across the country, in places like super wet Seattle, as well as arid Tucson, demand is greater than supply. I looked at a global water shortage map to get a sense of the big picture, and the countries that are experiencing physical or economic water scarcity make up, essentially, the entire Southern Hemisphere, with extreme shortage near the equator, and about 3 tiny exceptions in South America. Worldwide, the water crisis is most extreme in:
- The Middle East
- Water demand is doubling every 20 years.
- Right now, 1.3 billion people don't have access to clean water.
- Right now, 2.5 billion people (40% of Earth's pop.) don't have access to safe sewer and sanitation.
- Right now, in Africa, 5 million people die each year for lack of safe drinking water.
- 80 Countries have have water shortages that threaten health.
- The biggest drain on our water resources is agriculture, which consumes 70% of worldwide water use.
- Neoliberal values contribute to our water problems by letting corporations privatized what once belonged to the public.
- The population is expected to grow from 6 billion to 9 billion by 2050, according to the UN.
- In fewer than 20 years the demand for fresh water will exceed capacity by over 50%.
- The World Health Organization estimates that at any one time, up to half of the human population suffers from one of 6 main illnesses associated with water shortage (diarrhea, schistosomiasis, trachoma, ascaris, guinea worm, and hookworm).
- Conserving water on a global scale
- Curbing pollution
- Slowing population growth
- Managing supply and demand better
- Repairing ageing water infrastructure
- Developing desalination technology
Australia, which is facing severe water shortages in cities like Perth, which has had a 21% decline in rainfall in the last decade, is increasingly turning to desalination, causing some to predict that half of Perth's water may come from desalination technology in the coming 30 years. But, desalination is costly, both to initiate and operate. And some hold the United States, which once led the world in such research, accountable for abdicating the role of leading research and development to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Japan. Nearly two-thirds (60%) of the roughly 11,000 desalination plants in existence are located in the Middle East.
Like population density and high agricultural demands, reduced water supply has a synergistic effect on the damage caused by other disasters, as demonstrated by the Indian Ocean tsunami and Kobe earthquake, and, as I fear, the current wildfire storm raging in Southern California. Should California experience an earthquake large enough to break water lines, densely populated areas are likely to experience widespread panic, as well as high rates of illness and death due to lack of access to fresh water. (And by the way, if you haven't seen Roman Polanski's Chinatown, see it. Great film about Los Angeles land and water conspiracies.)
A recent study reported by the Guardian has given us a glimpse into our possible future. Analysts have projected widespread conflict by 2015 (just 13 years) due to water shortage, including:
- Civil unrest
- Mass migration
- Economic collapse
- "Misery and shortages in the Megacities and drought in Africa"
- "China leads recycling rush as world moves to a new hydro economy"
- "Water is the means of social control as floods and disease devastate world"
Here beneath the moon tonight
So pale and fragile
Is that shining in the distance I see
Real or just imagined?
Imagined mirages of agua
What are you going to do about it?
(Part I of a Series.)
TAGS: Water Supply, Water, Shortage, Environmentalism, Natural Resources, Conservation
SoCal Fires Are Retribution...On Republicans?
- Glenn Beck, on the Oct. 22nd broadcast of his syndicated radio show.
So...uh...Glenn, would those 'America Haters' be the ones living in:
Ventura County, CA - 51.2% Bush, 47.5% Kerry
San Diego County, CA - 52.5% Bush, 46.4% Kerry
San Bernardino County, CA - 55.3% Bush, 43.6% Kerry
Riverside County, CA - 57.8% Bush, 41.0% Kerry
Orange County, CA - 59.7% Bush, 39.0% Kerry
- Kvatch, observing that ol' Glenn didn't check his facts before opening his pie-hole.
TAGS: Glenn Beck
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Well, Well, Well
While "I told you so" may not be the ideal campaign slogan, I'm not running for anything, nor am I running the Democratic Party, so I can pretty much get away with it.
I have consistently maintained that dropping the T's from ENDA was just not a good idea; ethically or practically. While others will go on and poo poo me and people who think like me, basically saying that I don't know how legislation get's done in DC, I knew exactly what I was seeing.
We are not in an era of expanding rights; au contraire, we have been watching our rights shrinking. Deliberately and dastardly done so by the current regime. Seeing our pool of rights shrink a) how can you not be outraged and b) how could you ever possibly believe that legislation for ANY minority set would be passed in this session of Congress?
Lo and behold! The Chimperor shall not sign any ENDA legislation. Surprise? Not.
I really do wonder about the backstory. What could possibly have been dangled in front of Barney Frank and others to get them to hop on the "Hey, you guys probably got a chance if you'll dump the T's" bus, when little old me, far from DC could see that there was no way rights were going to expand for ANYBODY.
Barney Frank must have had a hell of a lollipop waiting to be snatched because he went as far as to say this:
...Underestimating your enemy is the surest way, not only to lose, but to lose so bad it is hard to come back.And underestimate he did. It sure will be hard to come back now won't it Barney? Given the Bush Dogs, I am sure that there was not a veto-proof vote count when they decided to drop the T's, and now with the tenor of the "staff memo" all full of fundie-isms, there's no way the whole thing isn't dead.
Doesn't it feel great to compromise your principles for nothing? I didn't think so, when all we want is to break free. "Imagine that." - Churchlady.
TAGS: Hypocrisy, ENDA, Fascists
Monday, October 22, 2007
Stark Ain't Apologizing
UPDATE: Stark apologized.
UPDATE 2: Jane Hamsher salutes Nancy Pelosi for making poor Pete Stark bow his head. The salute was with one finger. Guess which one.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement Friday evening rebuking fellow San Francisco Bay-area Representative Pete Stark for comments he made about the President during a debate on children's health care Thursday.
Strak's statement is certainly strong political rhetoric. In the past Democrats have certainly apologized for less. Republicans have refused to apologize for more, so maybe we split the difference on this one.
Listen to what Stark said in full because as the update to this Mahablog post explains, there's some confusion
Stark's not apologizing no matter what Nancy Pelosi says. In fact he says that his critics should apologize and give children health care.
Certainly Stark asked for trouble by claiming President Bush is amused by sending soldiers to get their heads blown off. There's no proof of that. The President is always laughing, in that Beavis and Butthead way of his, but no one can substantiate what he's laughing at, so it was probably unwise for Stark to speculate.
Digby at Hullabaloo thinks that the right wing might be exaggerating their outrage a bit because they have the political equivalent of battered wife syndrome.
Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks has a message for Democrats--"Stop Apologizing".
TAGS: Pete Stark, Digby, Iraq War, S-CHIP
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Jenn Marathon Update:Well, I got the wrong Jenn earlier...
Our Jenn had a killer migraine, but determined woman that she is, finished all the same.
Way to go, Jenn!
We celebrate your success!
Consider this a celebratory open thread.
TAGS: Open Thread
Bush now has a mere 24% approval rating, congress has 11%, and Cheney is the least popular presidential vice in history. So Bush's approval is lower than Carter's lowest (28%), and glory haleleujah if he isn't closing in on Nixon's all-time RECORD low of 23%! By some accounts, he's already there.
A blast from the past via The American Prospect, April 2006:
The Question: Nixon's Approval Rating Hit 24 Percent. How Low Can W's Go?
“Keep praying, but it's unlikely. Bush's ratings among Republicans would not only have to dip below 70 percent -- where they've never been -- but below 60 percent.”
--Ruy Teixeira, writer/blogger
“Bush's situation is more like Truman's during the ‘Communism, Corruption, and Korea' days. I say he stays in the 30s through '06.”
--Pat Buchanan, American Conservative magazine
“Theoretically, he can go down to zero. But that would assume that he lost his family. Frankly, I think he may have already lost Neil.”
--Al Franken, Air America host
Doesn't it seem like everyone knows? Almost everyone?
And for all the Rufus fans out there:
Does it make any difference if everyone knows, and what do you think will stop it in the end?
Open thread with question. Indulge me.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
All Clear Here
This is a response to Unconventional Conventionist's post referencing the 14 defining characteristics of fascism, compiled by a college professor, Dr. Lawrence Britt. I felt a rush of examples flooding my brain, so I decided to jot them down. These really are just my initial thoughts. I am sure there are plenty of better examples--exemplification of US fascism is one thing that is not in short supply these days.
- Powerful and continuing nationalism--Just consider the title of this document. Never mind the crime of flag burning.
- Disdain for the recognition of human rights--Torture, Habeas Corpus, Maher Arar.
- Identifying enemies or scapegoats as a unifying cause--Saddam, AQI.
- Supremacy of the military--Cost of the Iraq War/Occupation.
- Rampant sexism--Nancy Pelosi. Hillary Clinton. Angela Merkel.
- Controlled mass media--2 words: Dan Rather.
- Obsession with national security--Checked your fluids at the airport, lately? Hmmmm.
- Religion and government are intertwined--The Good Ole Faith-Based Initiative: "Just get me a f--ing faith-based thing."
- Corporate power is protected--"Corporate Personhood" and the "Right to Lie."
- Labor power is suppressed--Talk to the AFL-CIO.
- Disdain for intellectuals and the arts--La Guernica, Nobelaureate, Al Gore.
- Obsession with crime and punishment--Examples abound, and here is one: Sidewalk chalk.
- Rampant cronyism and corruption--Who put the Arabian horse judge in charge of emergency management?
- Fraudulent elections--Diebold. Florida. Ohio.
Now, check out the list compiled by the Project for the Old American Century. Great links.
Now, go back and reread this story about Bush's grandfather's role in a fascist plot to take over the U.S. government. Juicy, huh?
NOW. PLAYING. EVERYWHERE.
And dang if it ain't gonna snow/drizzle in Denver tonight/tomorrow. Adios 76 degrees - see you next year!
Friday, October 19, 2007
Just So We're Clear
"Fascism Anyone?", by Dr. Laurence Britt compared the regimes of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Suharto, and Pinochet and identified 14 characteristics common to those fascist regimes.
So you don't have to look at the link, here's the couple snips I personally find most relevant today. (Don't get me wrong, they're all relevant. Let's just have a snip here though.)
2.) Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights: Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.Have I whetted your appetite for the rest of the points? Like I said they're all totally relevant. So watch:
8.) Religion and Government are Intertwined: Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.
13.) Rampant Cronyism and Corruption: Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
All that being said, there's a cure and hope. They both live within us. Whatever cures you, helps cure this mess in the country. Whatever hope you have, it's the same hope the country has. Because really it's one and the same; your, my, the countries destinies depend completely on what we DO and right now.
Take the actions you can before the primaries. Vote your principle in the primaries. Do not be persuaded by arguments of practicality and pragmatism. Be persuaded only by your heart and your gut. Aside from that do what you love and as much as you can. Because that's what's going to cure this mess. Tons of self actualized people on the right damn track.
If you want to stay comfortably practical, only on the side of "Well that other thing?[fill in the blank, Impeachment, Kucinich, de-Funding the Illegal Occupation] Ain't gonna happen."
Then Welcome To The Machine.
**Extra points for Pink Floyd University Curriculum are accrued by your comments.
TAGS: Fascism, Pink Floyd University, Do Something
Thursday, October 18, 2007
The Great Gender Surrender
Excerpts from the bill:
Existing law prohibits the State Board of Education and the governing board of a school district from adopting for use in the public schools any instructional materials that reflect adversely upon persons because of their race, sex, color, creed, handicap, national origin, or ancestry.OK, call me a flaming liberal loon circling the moon on a bicycle, but, I think that's a good thing. I don't see how anyone can argue that providing protection against discrimination is bad. But, it is instructional to understand how opponents construct and understand their argument. Bear with me. This is both amusing, maddening, and informative.
This bill would revise the list of prohibited bases of discrimination and the kinds of prohibited instruction, activities, and instructional materials and instead, would refer to disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic contained in the definition of hate
crimes that is contained in the Penal Code. The bill would define disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation for this purpose.
From the Right:
"We are shocked and appalled that the governor has blatantly attacked traditional family values in California," said Karen England, executive director of Capitol Resource Institute.I don't know, but my family never valued discrimination. We had a saying, "People are people." Kind of simple, really.
Is this an argument to appeal to supporters of public schools, i.e., liberals?
"With this decision, Gov. Schwarzenegger has told parents that their values are irrelevant. Many parents will have no choice but to pull their children out of the public schools that have now become sexualized indoctrination centers."
"Arnold Schwarzenegger has delivered young children into the hands of those who will introduce them to alternative sexual lifestyles," said Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families, which worked to defeat the plans. "This means children as young as five years old will be mentally molested in school classrooms."OK, not exposed to discrimination = mental molestation. I see.
"Shame on Schwarzenegger and the Democrat politicians for ensuring that every California school becomes a homosexual-bisexual-transsexual indoctrination center," he said.
Bigots Across America Call to Action:
Analysts have warned that schools across the nation will be impacted by the decision, since textbook publishers must cater to their largest purchaser, which often is California, and they will be unlikely to go to the expense of having a separate edition for other states.
Gratuitous "Duh Statement":
There are no similar protections for students with traditional or conservative lifestyles and beliefs, however.
Argument supporting the right to hate and discriminate:
"SB 777 will result in reverse discrimination against students with religious and traditional family values," said Meredith Turney, legislative liaison for Capitol Resource Institute." These students [who discriminate] have lost their voice as the direct result of Gov. Schwarzenegger's unbelievable decision. The terms 'mom and dad' or 'husband and wife' could promote discrimination against homosexuals if a same-sex couple is not also featured.
Casting bigotry as moral "high ground":
"It's the height of intolerance to punish individuals, organizations, businesses, and churches that have moral standards on sexual conduct and sexual lifestyles," said Thomasson, in response to the signing of AB14. "This is another insensitive law that violates people's moral boundaries."
Admission of guilt:
"The shocking hate mail we received shows that those behind this legislation do not promote true tolerance," said England. "Only politically correct speech will be tolerated. Those with religious or traditional moral beliefs [who discriminate] will not be allowed to express their opinions in public schools."Apparently, religious and traditional moral beliefs are founded on discrimination? Says who? Never mind, that is another post for another day.
Gratuitous dig at California from another Daily Nut article:
"Thus, under this latest advance toward a Brave New World of polymorphous perversion, California textbooks will no longer be able to use words like 'mother and father' and 'husband and wife,' because they suggest that heterosexuality is the norm – even though that is manifestly the case, even in California."Even in California. I kinda think that's cute.
What it boils down to:
"California parents who don't want to see their children subjected to gender indoctrination will now have no alternative but to withdraw from the public education system – which they will be required to fund, nonetheless," Carlson said.It's really about taxes and having to pay for public school because public school tends to prohibit faith and the art of suspended belief training. Really.
Want to read something else freaky? Google "Exodus Mandate." You'll be sorry.
OK, rant off.
P.S. Point goes to Terminator.
TAGS: CA SB777, California, Gender Discrimination, Education, Public Schools, Arnold Schwarzenegger
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
(The Face of a Thug) versus The Face of a Small Hero
Monday, October 15th, Graeme's parents appeared on Keith Olbermann's program on MSNBC, 'Countdown.'
First - look at that face to the left.
As his mother points out in the video below, Graeme couldn't eat, couldn't talk, couldn't walk, couldn't sit up, could not hold his head up, could not swallow, and without CHIP he, most likely, would not be where he is today. And in relation to his sister, the prognosis was even more grim.
As the New York Times pointed out last week, Mitch McConnell's office was "poised to take on" this undeserving family.
Republicans on Capitol Hill, who were gearing up to use Graeme as evidence that Democrats have overexpanded the health program to include families wealthy enough to afford private insurance, have backed off.
An aide to Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, expressed relief that his office had not issued a press release criticizing the Frosts.
But what he also didn't divulge was this, " Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's spokesman acknowledged yesterday that he alerted reporters last week to questions bloggers raised about the financial circumstances of a 12-year-old boy Democrats had used to urge passage of an expanded children's health insurance program.
But Don Stewart, the Kentucky Republican's communications director, said he also wrote a follow-up e-mail later the same day that said a blogger he respected had determined that there was no story and that "the family is legit."
Why Mitch McConnell's interest? Because ole' Mitch has an alternative bill, and has labeled this particular bipartisan health care for kids as the first step towards providing universal health care in this country as it expands the income limits to include those caught being poverty-stricken and those who can afford private health care. Those who too poor to buy insurance, but too well off to qualify for Medicaid.
However as the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman (Matthew Miller) put it: "spreading false rumors about a 12-year-old boy is despicable for any reason." And Mr. Miller is right on here as well, "No matter how McConnell's office spins it now, the e-mail makes clear that they were part of the campaign to smear a child who had the nerve to stand up and say children's health insurance shouldn't be cut."
Last night, Keith Olbermann had Graeme's parents on to discuss their coverage under S-CHIP in Maryland; they live in Baltimore. They also discuss the fallout from their decision to allow Graeme to be the face of what this legislation is about when he gave the Democratic response to Bush's Saturday radio address on September 29th. Graeme's father points out that "one of nails in the coffin" in his business folding was the exorbitant cost of the family's health insurance costs.
Then....today, there's this
The Louisville Courier-Journal has a story this morning on Mitch McConnell's statements to WHAS in Louisville. And just look at that headline - whoo-boy!
McConnell knew of e-mails about boy. Below is his flat out denial.
Now one of the most telling things I noticed was this below from McConnell's communications director, Don Stewart, who sent a 'follow-up e-mail last night (apparently, Oct 16th - Tuesday) to the Courier-Journal, in which he reiterated that McConnell's answer to WHAS that "there was 'no involvement whatsoever' " was accurate."
"The blogs started this story on Oct. 6 -- two days before I pointed it out and spiked it. This story started and ended in the blogs," Stewart wrote. "I told reporters there was 'no story.' I told Sen. McConnell that I spiked the story. That is 100 percent accurate."
Sooo, it's the fault of those damned blogs. But wait, Donnie - didn't you leak the info to 'a blog?' (Red State come to mind?) I'm sure there are some 'out there' and specifically in the U.S. Congress who undoubtedly think blogs and more specifically, liberal blogs, are a blight on the dissemination of their lies and tactics. Blogs play as important a role as pamphlets did in the time of the American Revolution. Blogs are dangerous.
Now - in the event you think your lying ears and eyes might be deceiving you when you see Mitch's lips moving, there's a transcript from the C-Journal's page - down just a bit, to the right.
Here is a transcript of WHAS reporter Mark Hebert's interview Friday with Sen. Mitch McConnell:
Hebert: Was there an indication that your office was trying to push reporters to go dig into this 12-year-old's background?
Hebert: Then what was the deal with the e-mail?
Hebert: What was the deal with the e-mail from your staffer?
McConnell: There was no involvement whatsoever.
Hebert: From your staff?
Over at The Gavel, there's a number of others who reveal how they were helped by the version of the CHIP program in their varied states. Being poor is not an easy task.
Oh and a bit of a reminder, Mitch is married to Elaine Chao, the Department of Labor secretary responsible for this.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Today Was World Food Day
... Since 1985, the real price of fresh fruits and vegetables has increased nearly 40 percent, while the real price of sweets, fats and oils, and soft drinks has dropped. With these price signals, is it any wonder people are not eating enough produce and too many calorie-dense foods? We have made consuming junk food an economically smart choice, particularly for people with limited income.
Having said that, why the HELL is Yum! Brands pretending like it is NOT a huge part of this problem, and in an unbelievable bit of two-facedness sponsoring a "Feed The World" for Hunger Awareness Week in-store promo? Because it's a Fortune 500 Corporation who is lobbying in a goose step fashion with ADM and Cargill:
US Agribusiness: Swallowing Up Lands and Livelihoods
Visit the websites of corporations like Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland, who together control 65 percent of the global grain trade, and you will read that their mission is to “feed a growing world.” The reality is starkly different. Big Farming is part of a larger corporate economic model that prioritizes profit-making over all else, even the basic right to food. Around the world, agribusiness bankrupts and displaces small farmers, and directs farmers to grow export crops instead of staple foods.
Well, I believe ADM and Cargill as much as I believe Chevron or any oil company's website. Thank god we don't use Google AdSense on this blog.
We just use our common sense.
Tonight, I guess I am just saying, let's be glad we have some dinner. And BOYCOTT YUM! BRANDS MCDONALDS AND THE REST of those Fast/Bad Food Fascists!
TAGS: Hunger, Injustice, Corporate Greed
Monday, October 15, 2007
An inconvenient genocide.
The rest is here. True. There will never be a "good time" for this, considering - as the breathless warcheerleaders in the Bootlicking Corporate Media are quick to tell us over and over during the last few days - that so much of “our” so-called “war on terror” is so “dependent” on our alliance with Turkey. We need the bases, we need the fly-over airspace, we need a whole list of things from them. And we need them NOT to invade northern Iraq in their efforts to subjugate the PKK guerrillas who are seeking an autonomous Kurdish state, which the Kurds are loathe to acquiesce to. As I write this, CNN is reporting, as they have been since Friday, that the Turks are “massing troops” at their border with Iraq, apparently waiting for this resolution to pass so they can have their excuse to invade. Or something like that.
ISTANBUL (Washington Post via Boston Globe) Oct. 15 - The commander of Turkey’s armed forces warned that US-Turkish military relations will be irreparably damaged if the US House of Representatives approves a resolution accusing his country of genocide for the mass killings of Armenians nearly a century ago, according to an interview published yesterday.
“If this resolution passed in the committee passes the House as well, our military ties with the US will never be the same again,” General Yasar Buyukanit told the daily newspaper Milliyet in the interview.The admonition from the senior officer in Turkey’s politically powerful military echoed warnings from the country’s top civilian political leaders since the House Foreign Affairs Committee approved the resolution Wednesday. Turkey argues that the killings and disappearances of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians were not genocide but the result of brutal war during the last years of the Ottoman Empire.“The United States is clearly an important ally,” Buyukanit said. “But an allied country does not behave in this way.”Bush administration officials and US military leaders who oppose the resolution say they fear Turkey could limit crucial air and land supply lines into Iraq as punishment if the measure is accepted by the full House of Representatives.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, reaffirmed that the resolution would be called to the floor this week. A similar resolution was pulled from the floor in 2000 by then-speaker Dennis Hastert, an Illinois Republican, after he was asked to do so by President Clinton. Pelosi said she had not heard from President Bush about this bill.“There’s never been a good time” for the measure, Pelosi said on ABC’s This Week, adding that when she entered Congress 20 years ago, “it wasn’t the right time because of the Soviet Union. Then that fell, and then it wasn’t the right time because of the Gulf War I. And then it wasn’t the right time because of overflights of Iraq. And now it’s not the right time because of Gulf War II. And, again, the survivors of the Armenian genocide are not going to be with us.” [Emphasis mine]
Unruly Americans - Open Thread
Good Morning, Unrulies!!
While watching Book TV yesterday, the finalists from the National Book Awards for nonfiction were given.
Guess what? This was one of the books:
Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution, Woody Holton - (Hill and Wang/Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Over there <== is the picture. I like it! It looks inviting, interesting.
The same author has written another book entitled: Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves, and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia
(Please G*d - don't let him be a fan of the Inhuman & UnHoly Trinity: Michelle, Ann, & Rush! I promise I'll be nice to, uh - um, hmm....)
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Sunday Open Thread
Thread Away, unrulies!
“The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it comes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group.”
-- Franklin D. Roosevelt --
"They said it couldn't happen here." -- Frank Zappa
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Off With Their Pants
I have been reacting to one outrageous news story after another for so long that I can't really remember the last time I was able to take a step back and coherently contextualize the forest and the trees. In 2004, before the last election, I guess I was able to step back then, because that's what presidential elections make us do. The people have to compare one guy to the other guy.
About half of them shrugged and said, "I'm stumped," and forgot all about it.
The other half voted and no one is quite sure what happened there. It's hard to steal an election convincingly. These guys didn't pull it off. It wasn't convincing at all. A little probing and it's perfectly clear what happened, but with an assist from the media and the lack of curiosity of the masses--half didn't even vote, so why would they look into whether or not it was stolen?
So, enough people went to a ballot box, after four years of Bush, and said, "Gimme some more," that tipping it came down to only ballot-jacking Ohio.
Three more years have past and now, there's no way that Bush could beat Kerry, who in turn couldn't beat anyone else in the Democratic primaries. Three more years of this administration has brought down a resounding judgment. Bush couldn't steal Ohio or any other battleground state if this thing were re-done today.
Still, though, thirty percent of Americans remain loyal Bushies.
So I ask, are the Americans walking this continent today the same as the ones that took it from the Brits in the eighteenth century?
Is there a John Adams in the house? Thomas Paine? Anyone?
Where did our courage go?
In a speech Al Gore gave two months after the 2004 election, he pointed out that the threats our leaders faced as a country during the revolution were great. If they had been caught or if the war went badly, they all would have been hung.
Yet, these were the ones who came up with the foundation for the very rights that the Bush Administration are stripping away based on a threat that falls far short of the British Army burning down the White House in The War of 1812 or the Soviet nuclear arsenal during the Cold War.
Clearly, the actions of the Bush administration have no legitimacy and reek of authoritarianism. But we do not revolt. Why?
Well, for one thing, many people feel that we can wait them out. Term limits dictate that even the worst president will be gone after eight years. For most of America to wake up it took about six years. So do you have a bloody revolution in the streets to remove a guy who's out in two years?
Our blog is kind of defined by two symbols, one is visual, the guillotine, one is textual, taking off someone's pants. We have two suggested remedies for crimes against humanity--petty embarrassment and death. Clearly this is a brilliant ironic configuration created by SbT which implies the answer is somewhere in the broad realm of possibilities between those extremes.
Admittedly, the guillotine looks more and more appropriate. But the blatant insults to the American people--the ones paying attention anyway--continue to pile up.
In a country that's on fire with rage at its leaders, how many times can the news anchors smile and lead with Britney Spears before even one more year of this is just too damn much?
By the way something, Britney, keep your pants on.
RELATED: Author Naomi Klein: America is succumbing to fascism.
TAGS: Revolution, Bush Era, Al Gore, Constitution
Thursday, October 11, 2007
The war at home, continued.
[Yesterday] Asa Coon, wearing a Marilyn Manson shirt, black jeans and black nail polish, opened fire with two revolvers on Wednesday, wounding two students and two teachers at SuccessTech Academy in downtown Cleveland. Coon, 14, had a history of mental problems and was known for cursing at teachers and bickering with students.The full story is here.
A classmate said Thursday that he and others had warned their principal about threats by Asa Coon and said the attack could have been prevented. The student, Rasheem Smith, said on CBS’ “Early Show” that despite their warnings, principal Johneita Durant told them she was too busy.
“I told my friends in the class that he had a gun and stuff,” said Smith, 15. “He was talking about doing it last week. I don’t know why they didn’t say nothing.
“We talked to the principal. She would try to get us all in the office, but it would always be too busy for it to happen,” Smith said.
The police arrested the dead boy’s brother today, but, as of this moment, no one is saying just why. So once again (besides the oh-so-predictable mention of Marilyn Manson and other Goth culture accoutrements), we have a school shooting case where the shooter told other kids what he was going to do, but in this case, the kids who were told did the right thing, and the “adults” in charge did not act. Good gravy. We get professional development materials on this sort of thing all the time at my school. Like, weekly. Most teachers and administrators do. It all says the same thing. “Since the tragedy at Columbine”…. teachers and administrators need to take any potential threat seriously. Unless you like the idea of dodging bullets in the hallway, or attending the funerals of your colleagues and students.
Oh, and then I found this interesting story today:
PHILADELPHIA, PA (AP) Oct. 11 - A home-schooled teenager who felt bullied
amassed a cache of guns, knives and hand grenades and tried to recruit another
boy for a possible school attack, authorities said Thursday.
The 14-year-old was taken into custody after police searched his bedroom in a Philadelphia suburb on Wednesday evening. He had talked about mounting a Columbine-type attack at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, authorities said.
The weapons included a 9mm assault rifle that the teenager’s mother had recently bought for him, Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. said. Prosecutors are reviewing her actions.
Police also found about 30 air-powered guns, plus swords, knives, hand grenades, a bomb-making book, videos of the 1999 Columbine attack in Colorado and violence-filled notebooks, Castor said. The weapons were plainly visible in the boy’s bedroom, Castor said…
“I do not think an attack was imminent and I am not certain that an attack was going to occur at all,” Castor said at a news conference. “It could have simply been big talking by a kid who thought that he was bullied previously and he was going to exact his revenge.” [Flabbergasted emphasis mine]
The rest is here.
Right. No “attack” was “imminent.” Like he knows. His psychic powers tell him so. I guess our suspect here just liked… what, exactly? Collecting shiny metal objects? At least in this case, when this would-be killer tried to recruit another teen to help him out, that kid had the sense to tell an adult, and the police were called. They acted. But they do still sound a bit clueless.
And, did you catch the part that said that the kid’s mother bought him an assault rifle??? Interesting hobby your son has going there, ma’am. And to think: my folks worried about me because I played Dungeons and Dragons.
See? THIS is the mentality we’re dealing with. After Padukah, after Pearl, after Columbine, after Jonesboro, after all the others, and even after Virginia Tech. After all of the carnage and sorrow.
And this is exactly why these tragedies are going to continue to happen. For absolutely, positively sure.
TAGS: Guns, Kids, Education, School Violence
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Plenty of Outrage to Go Around
In yesterday's Washington Post:
A small private intelligence company that monitors Islamic terrorist groups obtained a new Osama bin Laden video ahead of its official release last month, and around 10 a.m. on Sept. 7, it notified the Bush administration of its secret acquisition. It gave two senior officials access on the condition that the officials not reveal they had it until the al-Qaeda release.In intelligence circles, this is known as 'burning the source.' If you have ever read Tom Clancy's novels (a great writer, even though he's pretty far to the right - and until the Iraq war he was a bit rah-rah about American interventionism) you know about the dilemma that intelligence analysts have when dealing with the product of intelligence operatives. If you act on a particularly juicy item gleaned from the enemy, you could give away the methods by which you garnered that item. You could save lives or gain some other strategic advantage on one hand, but is it worth it? The classic example of this is when the Brits didn't warn the people of Coventry they were about to be firebombed by the Nazis, because to do so would let the Nazis know they had access to an Enigma machine.
Within 20 minutes, a range of intelligence agencies had begun downloading it from the company's Web site. By midafternoon that day, the video and a transcript of its audio track had been leaked from within the Bush administration to cable television news and broadcast worldwide.
This isn't like that. There was no strategic advantage to be had, no lives to be saved. The source was burned just to gain a brief and intangible political advantage, out of purely irresponsible childish stupidity. I've said before that the key to Bush is that he was brought up in an environment where he was always bailed out of any jam he got himself into. 'DUI charges? - no problem, daddy will make it go away. Vietnam draft fears? - I'll get you into the Texas Air National Guard. Don't want to show up for TANG because they want you to piss in the bottle before they give you a multi-million dollar fighter jet? Daddy will fix.' As a result of this - HE HAS NO SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY WHATSOEVER. The only question left in my mind about George W. Bush is this - is he more evil, or more stupid? Demon or moron? I think I'll just call him demoronic and let it go at that.
Olbermann's excellent take on this story is available at C&L.
Outraged about the wanton killing of civilians by Blackwater, Inc? Me too. The Iraqi government is calling AGAIN to have them out of the country, the sooner the better, as two Christian women got killed yesterday by security contractors in a Baghdad intersection . Not good ol' Joe LIE-berman, who chairs the commitee responsible for government oversight of that kind of thing. He has declared that he won't be chairing an investigation into either the killings or corruption by Iraq contractors in general, as blogged at HuffPo. And this guy posed for most of his political career as a Democrat? As Seth and Amy would say, REALLY?!?
Maybe it's because Blackwater CEO (another hypoChristian fundy, BTW) Erik Prince interned with representative Dana Rohrabacher (R - Huntington Beach, CA) back in 1990 "and they have since become friends." Well, whoopdee-doo. Congresswoman Rohrabacher has said that her old BFF is "An American Hero Just Like Ollie North Was." Considering that North was involved in Iran/Contra up to his neck - illegally selling American high-tech weapons to an enemy in order to illegally fund a bunch of bloodthirsty thugs - and should have ended his career deciding on whether to accept the cigarette or the blindfold, I'll accept that comparison. Except for the hero part, of course.
And one other thing - while Joe-Mo is busily providing no oversight over corruption in Iraq anyway, he might as well not oversee the $750,000,000 (and counting) construction of the American Embassy in Iraq, the opening of which has been delayed indefinitely by shoddy construction from the Kuwaiti contractor. I guess 3/4 of a BILLION dollars just doesn't go as far as it used to. Henry Waxman wrote a letter to Kindasleazy Liesalot asking for an explanation. "Problems were so severe and widespread that the inspectors concluded that none of the buildings on the new embassy compound could be approved for occupancy." Documents showed hundreds of violations of fire codes and other regulations and electrical problems throughout the complex.
Not content just to waste vast amounts of money in Iraq and in support of tax cuts for the elite, Bu$hCo™ have allocated yet more funds to pushing a national ad campaign promoting abstinence. That should at least help their friends in the porn industry. No money of course is available to help sick children, but one suspects that some is getting funneled to the sick pundits of the reight wing who attack those very children from their various positions in the 'mainstream' Corporate-Owned Media.
Kind of gives a new meaning to the term 'bully pulpit', doesn't it?
Of course there's plenty of residual outrage over the usual things - the administration's lawless defiance of FISA, the continued unconstitutional 'suspension' of habeas corpus, torture, rendition, the growing threat from multinational corporations.. ..ad nauseum. And all of that is contributing to a growing outrage that Congress and the Democrats are doing little more than ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to address any of the above. Democracy cannot function in the absence of a real opposition party, or a press corps dedicated to the truth.
"The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands may justly be pronounced the very definition of a tyranny."
-- James Madison --
TAGS: Corruption, Iraq Contractors, Intelligence, Congressional Oversight